“My Favorite Things” Party

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” chalkboard sign

Have you ever been to one of those parties?  Everyone brings 5 of the same thing of a product that they love, or something that you handmade that you love.  Each person pulls five names, and everyone goes home with 5 different things (hopefully).  Sometimes you have to do some trading at the end if there are people left at the end that didn’t have their name called enough, and end up with some of the same thing.  But that is fun too, because most people are willing to trade to get the things that really interested them.  It’s kind of fun, and us moms really like it because when do we ever really get five little gifts chosen by our friends?  If you haven’t been to one, you should throw one yourself. Your friends will love it.  I co-hosted for my second year with my friend.  Our friends requested we do it again this year.  We had our party closer to Christmas last time, but this year my friend had the brilliant idea to do it before Thanksgiving, since the holidays get so crazy.  Last year was at my house, and this year was at hers, so that was nice to take turns.  We had a theme for the food and decor, mostly some gold accents, and miniature finger food.  She did the appetizers and I did the desserts.  I went to Pinterest to find inspiration.  Here are the links to the desserts I made:

Salted Caramel-Cashew Cookie tarts:

http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/salted-caramel-cashew-cookie-tarts/707B6E37-5C91-403B-8DD0-3739BA25D3BF?crlt.pid=camp.t9j5A8CZd396#?nicam4=SocialMedia&nichn4=Pinterest&niseg4=Pillsbury&nicreatID4=Post

These were good, but very rich and heavy.  Maybe that is a good thing, because it keeps the portion control in check.  The mixture of the caramel with the cashew butter is so yummy.  I had some left over and saved it for the kids to put over vanilla ice cream.  I could not find Kraft caramel nibs at my local grocery store, so just use kraft caramels and chop them up a bit to speed up melting them in the microwave.  I used a wooden dowel from Pampered Chef to get the cookie dough to mould perfectly in the mini muffin pan.  Worked like a charm, not so much with the next recipe.

Shortbread Tarts with Cream Filling:

http://www.joyofbaking.com/ShortbreadTartsWithCreamFilling.html

Ok, so these I had a bit of a problem with.  The filling is great!  It makes a lot and has a great lemon flavor.  However, I had difficulty with the shortbread.  I just could not get them out of the mini muffin pan in one piece. I followed the directions and sprayed my pan accordingly.  I gave up and used mini phyllo cups as a substitute.  You can find them in the freezer by the pies.  They worked just fine, and had a nice crisp crunch.  These were gone at the end of the night.  Hands down favorite.  None left at all.  I topped mine with a raspberry and two blueberries.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

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Pumpkin Pie Bites

http://www.bakerella.com/pumpkin-pie-bites/

These were good, tasted like a decent pumpkin pie recipe.  I didn’t do pumpkin faces, instead I topped with some whipped cream that I added some sugar and cinnamon to.  I just used a biscuit cutter and cut out circles from two ready made pie crusts for the crust.  I used the extra dough to cut leaves, and sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar.  Those will get a little soggy from the whipped cream, but they make a cute presentation. Not the best picture in the world, but I was losing light.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Chalkboard Sign

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So I brought those signs to the party as my $5 favorite thing.  My friend had originally cut those to use for something else but she didn’t like the stain she used so she gave them to me (yes!!!). You can get the wood at Home Depot for $5.95 if you do not have a crafty friend like me.  It comes 24×48.  Choose smooth wood, like the kind in the bottom of a drawer.  You do need a miter saw to cut the angles, and the hole at home. After using my chalkboard paint on one, I ended up switching to the chalkboard spray paint.  It covered better, and was faster overall.

After the paint was dry, I went to my Silhouette and made a design close to one I had seen online.  I really like the “Bergamot Ornaments” font on http://www.dafont.com.  It is great for a chalkboard design.  It provided the cute lines and swirls.  Just make what you like.  There were a ton of sayings, and cute fonts online, and designing is the most time consuming for me, just deciding takes so much time!  So go with something that appeals to you, and you will be thrilled.  Cut it out in vinyl on your Silhouette machine.  Make sure there is a box around the saying because you want the negative image.  Season your chalkboard with regular chalk, all over and wipe off.  Weed out the letters.  Apply the stencil to your board with transfer tape, and use a chalk pen to stencil in your design.  The chalk pen is cleaner, and easier to work with.  It will come off with water, but I have always found I can still see it a bit when it has been wiped off.  If you want to do a different design on the back, that is a great idea too!  Finish it off with a ribbon you like.  It was a very inexpensive gift, and I think my friends really liked it.  It did take some time, but homemade isn’t always fast.  We don’t do it because it’s fast, right?  Thanks for checking out my blog!

Cheers!

Rhonda

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Tote bag and Zipper Pouch

ReversibleTote
Have you seen the website http://www.crafsy.com? It is awesome. It has a lot of tutorial videos on how to sew and makes stuff. It gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make several things, and some tutorials are free. I stumbled upon a tote and zipper pouch free video, and wanted to try it out. I really need practice with zippers especially!

If zippers confuse you do the zipper pouch so you can practice. She uses a glue stick technique to keep the zipper aligned without dealing with pins that I found so helpful.
Zipper pouch
She also gave a tip when making a boxed bottom and how to put the pin through the seam so you know it is all lined up. It made sense when I saw the video. Now in the video she wasn’t using a one-way pattern like myself, and I guess I should have turned my Russian dolls the other way, but oh well, ya live and ya learn. I really did learn a lot about basic sewing during this tutorial. I have sewed before, but not often and never consistently, so this was a good project to start with again.

Lots of fun stuff on there, as well as paid classes. I think I will work my way up to doing the free quilt block class out of old t-shirts. That class looks like a fun way to preserve those shirts that you love, or that your kids wore, and it keeps the memory of them around. We shall see, but I do know I need a lot more practice at my sewing.

Personalized Burlap Wine Bags


It was the last day of school on Friday, and I wanted to give one of my new friends something to thank her for several kindnesses. Since we are both a little weary about starting the summer, trying to keep our kids busy, and not go crazy in the process, I thought I would embellish it with a funny saying. You can put any saying you like. You can stencil the bag sideways also, with “Vino” in a fancy font, or a last name, “Thank You”, and so on… The possibilities are endless. It is a fun, and fast project and it really dresses up the wine gift. Wine bottles do vary in size so be sure to measure your bottle for height and width and add a 1/4 seam allowance. Go around the top of the bag with a straight stitch to prevent the burlap from fraying beyond the stitch. I used fabric paint, and a stencil I made with Silhouette stencil material. So keep calm, and stencil on!

Dressed up Burp Cloths

Dressed up burp cloths make a great gift.

Dressed up burp cloths make a great gift.

I am still on the baby kick, so I thought I would add to my little onesie gift and make some embellished burp cloths to go with them.

There are a ton of blogs that have a tutorial on this. I like this one: http://goodbadcraftyblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/custom-burp-clothes.html

Just be sure to measure your diaper so you cut your fabric right (the size can vary a little bit), and wash the diapers and the fabric first before you begin. Sometimes I think that is the hardest part about sewing anything. I just want to dive in, but there is always washing, and cutting involved. I do know that I would have loved to have these when I had my kids. Just adds some cuteness to it, and it becomes a little more special, because someone customized it for you. You could make the fabric portion wider or thinner too, up to you. There is no right or wrong. I just kept it with the seams in the diaper.

Try them out, very simple. I did use a zigzag stitch, but you do not have to. You can just use a straight stitch. Be sure to stitch close to the edge, and use white bobbin thread (the back is white), and what ever color thread to match your fabric, so your mistakes show less (if you make mistakes). I know I always make plenty of sewing mistakes, and I rarely sew in a straight line, so matching the fabric is a must for me. I am getting better, but I don’t sew all that often. This is a great project for a beginning sewer. Have fun, and choose fabrics that you love!

Memorial Day Pallet Project

Pallet Flag

Pallet Flag

I have been bugging a friend of mine to make a pallet project with me forever. She was able to snag some free pallets, so we decided to do a pallet flag. They are very popular on Pinterest, and I was all for it. They were sitting on the side of her house for so long, we had to get going, so the flag was the easiest thing we could decide on that would be quick. We had to use the extra pallet to fill in the spaces. We decided agains gaps after looking at some of the projects online. We wanted 16 stripes and 50 stars too, so that meant that gaps were not gonna work. My pallet was uneven too, so my stripes are not totally straight, but I love how it turned out anyway.

First we painted the whole pallet white, then we used painters tape and masked off the stripes and stars area. I was thinking maybe a laser level would work well here, but we never did find it to try it out. The hardest part was doing the math to be sure the lines were close to even and that we could fit the entire 16 stripes on the pallet. We cut out vinyl stars to prevent us from having to stencil them on later, and adhered them after the white paint dried. This way once the blue was painted, we would already have the white stars underneath, ready to be revealed when the blue paint dried. We painted the red stripes, and then the blue portion of the flag. Once it dried, we took off all the painter’s tape and vinyl stars to let the white come through. Some of the tape picked up some of the white paint, but I like the rustic look that it gave it. A nice craft to display for Memorial Day. Will be great to have for Flag Day, and July 4th as well. We had all the paint on hand already, and the pallets were free, so not bad!

Custom Onesies

Great for a quick gift for an expectant mother.

Great for a quick gift for an expectant mother.

I wanted a quick, but personal, and not so expensive gift I could give to a mom in my son’s class. She just had a little girl. I washed the onesies first. I used the Silhouette stencil material and cut out stencils of the shapes I wanted, but you can always buy pre made stencils at Target or Walmart, or where ever you come across them. I will say I had to cut the stencil material on 4 instead of the suggested 3 setting. It wasn’t the easiest to separate on the 3 setting, and I don’t recommend it, unless you have a brand new, really sharp blade. But if your stencil is detailed you may just want to use the 4 setting to be sure it cuts through. Make sure you put a piece of cardboard inside the onesie so the paint doesn’t go through the back. You want to use fabric paint. I am really loving the metallic gold paint.

Loving the gold metallic fabric paint!

Loving the gold metallic fabric paint!


DSC_0019
I think it will be cute for summer. Make sure the stencil is really adhered well to prevent paint from bleeding underneath. Once you go over it, I would let it dry, and then go over it again. I was not very patient, so mine are not completely coated evenly. The bottle says to let dry for 3 days before washing, but after a few hours mine were dry to the touch. These will make a great little gift. I personalized one with her name on it, so I think that is a nice touch. If you have never used fabric paint and a stencil, go for it. This was only the second time I did this, and I am happy with the results.

Dying vs. Painting Easter Eggs

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This year we tried a Paas Kit labeled “24K Golden Eggs”  This kit comes with a tray, two paint brushes, three packets of color, and two  packets of golden color.  You just mix some gold with the colors and paint it on.  My son and I had fun doing this together.  He will be nine next month, and I do think this would get messy if his little five-year-old brother was in on this (he got to do the traditional ones below).  We did this batch by ourselves after his brother went to bed for some time together, and so that his little brother didn’t paint my entire house with golden paint.  We did get some on the granite counter top and it came right off with water.  A pretty alternative to the regular eggs.  

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These are your traditional Paas Easter Eggs.  I use the method of putting a tablespoon of vinegar and teaspoon of salt in the water before it comes to a boil.  Not sure if this helps the color or cracking, but that is just what I do, and it doesn’t change the taste any so no harm no foul.  I boil them for a minute or two, and then take them off the stove and cover them with a lid and pray they don’t crack.  We didn’t have any crack this year.  We added the three tablespoons vinegar, and a half cup of water to each cup per directions, and we got some great color.  We did use a few brown eggs (not shown) and the green color was even darker than the one above.  I wish I had tried more brown eggs with the dye.  Next year!!  

Bunny Art

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Here is a quick Silhouette project.  I was inspired by one that I found on Pinterest, but they used thin wood to cut out the bunnies.  The grain was cute and all but I didn’t want to spend the money.  I used a solid 8 x 10 color I liked and then just cut bunny shapes out of the brown craft paper.  I then just duplicated the mod bunnies shape found here:  http://www.silhouetteonlinestore.com/?page=view-shape&id=58260.  For the final bunny I cut him out in dark brown textured card stock, and used some pop dots to add dimension, and I added a bow, and a tail for some detail.  I decided to leave the glass off the frame because I always change out what is in this one for the seasons, but you can always put the bunny on top of the glass too.  I got the distressed frame at Aaron Bros.  I may add a mini banner to the top of this to wrap across the frame to add some interest, but I like the simplicity of it.  

Candy Hearts

hearts two

Michael’s had some very cute wooden hearts for sale the other day. I picked up four, sanded them a little, then painted them with acrylic paint, and added some vinyl for my names and sayings. Also stapled a ribbon to the backs to keep them all together. They are displayed hanging straight down:

Candy vertical

A fun quick decoration for Valentine’s day!

Be Mine! – Valentine Countdown Board

Back again with another countdown board! This time a Valentine theme. I used shapes found at the silhouette online store. You can route your wood yourself or grab a pre-routed piece from Michaels. Have fun making any design that suits your fancy. My kiddo loves changing the the days. Remember to stay away from glossy paint or your vinyl will not stick to your board. If you wanted you could Mod-Podge over everything except the chalkboard vinyl heart you write the chalk numbers on, but I skipped the Mod-Podge. I think I may add a bird to a branch and remove a heart as well. Have fun with it!

Valentine Countdown Board

Valentine Countdown Board

I also painted a 4×4 wood block out of leftover wood with chalkboard paint. I got this idea from seeing it at a local store. Each holiday I use my colored chalk pens to create different pictures to add to the decor. That is a quick project anyone can do. See you soon! Keep crafting!

4x4 Chalkboard block you can wipe off and change with the seasons!

4×4 Chalkboard block you can wipe off and change with the seasons!